Memorial Day, originally called Decorations Day, was first observed in 1868 to honor those who died in the Civil War. It has since grown to include all who have died in military service for the people of the United States. Many also remember other family members in their prayers on Memorial Day. May they rest in peace.
As the flowers rest on the decorated graves and the sunlight shines on the beautiful sailboats, Uncle Sam whispers in my ear about how we should care for the soldiers and remember the ones that have died. Swimming pools open, BBQs fry. Today is the day to think of what they have done for us. There are blurs of red, white and blue marching down the street and flags are lowered at half-mast. But we should always remember and never forget what set us free, from this very day on.
O God, by whose mercy the faithful departed find rest,
look kindly on your departed veterans who gave their
lives in the service of their country.
Grant that through the passion, death, and resurrection of your Son
they may share in the joy of your heavenly kingdom
and rejoice in you with your saints forever.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
~Committee on Divine Worship, USCCB
But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
~ Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863
“The purpose of all war is peace.” – St. Augustine